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Unlocking growth through composable commerce

Kerry Lee, Matt Bradbeer, Jeremy Wilson
29 Jun 2023

Composable Commerce, an approach that has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses build and manage their commerce experience. There is no one-size fits-all solution, which is why at Capgemini we help businesses identify which individual modules would best serve their needs.

Composable commerce and MACH architectures have been around for a while now. Both are different things, but complementary.

With interest in, and implementation of, Composable commerce tech stacks growing, both terms are being used a lot, but why are they important, what do they mean? Why are brands and organisations adopting Composable commerce?

“Composable” as a term refers to an architectural and business approach that breaks everything down to individual functions or capabilities . Breaking up traditional “Monolithic” structures into smaller parts, such as Content, Search, Front-End, Commerce Engine.

MACH is a technology stack, it refers specifically to software that has been build using distinct Microservices, using an API-first approach, natively built in a Cloud from the ground up and Headless.

MACH is the purest way to support a Composable strategy from a technology perspective. But you can pursue a hybrid Composable strategy with MACH and non-MACH products.

The benefits of composable

Sometimes positioned as an approach that helps brands ‘future proof’ their commerce experience, there are a number of reasons why a Composable commerce stack is now a preferred route for many retailers.

Performance improvement is the primary driver.

Improved metrics and performance from a tailored and relevant onsite experience, has been shown to deliver superior commercial results. Research has found that retailers adopting a Composable approach to commerce achieved a 17%* higher conversion rates and 10%* lower basket abandonment* than their peers in the same industry that adopt a more traditional approach to commerce.

As well as the immediate commercial returns, those that adopt a Composable commerce stack will also benefit from a longer-term financial upside. The ability to switch tech providers in and out without the disruption and cost of a significant period of development.

The speed to market for enhancements and changes to the experience is significantly improved with a modular approach to the tech stack. Overall organizations that have adopted a Composable approach outpace competition by 80%* in the speed of a new feature implementation and can bring features and capabilities to their customers 2.4x* faster to market .

Changing a constituent of the tech stack, no longer involves significant development and investment. For smaller experience changes, that previously could have taken months to implement with monolithic platforms, e.g., putting in alternate payment methods, this now takes days rather than months to implement.

Flexibility and freedom to innovate is another reason many organisations are choosing to switch to a Composable commerce approach. With Composable, you can choose best of breed, specialist vendors that can provide the experience that your organisation and your customers need. You can pick and choose what works best for your products and services and tailor the experience to deliver a seamless, frictionless, inspirational and unique customer journey. And this unique customer journey, improves site performance and delivers better commercial returns.

The ability to flex the experience using leading vendors is particularly useful in sectors where innovation is prolific and there are complex pain points to be overcome. For grocery there are challenges with stock management, pick, pack, despatch, substitutions , and order orchestration. With a combination of the best vendors all connected via APIs it should be straightforward to swap vendors in and out of your stack. No long winded, painful and time-consuming re-platform is needed to always be working with the best of breed, solution providers.

Scale is another advantage of Composable, especially with MACH-based vendors. As everything is Cloud-Native, you don’t run into the old issues of scalability. Additionally, different technology can be scaled independently, which means that retailers can easily add or remove modules as their business grows. For example, a retailer that is experiencing rapid growth can easily add additional modules to their system to handle the increased demand.

The benefits of composable architecture do require investment

The road to Composable is not all plain sailing – with more moving parts and different vendors often there are a lot of decisions to be made and a huge amount of information that needs to be processed before designing the experience and architecture that will deliver your vision.

Because of this complexity it’s not something that a retailer can spin up quickly. The best examples of implementing Composable commerce have involved a robust approach to researching the optimal partner ecosystem, use of insight and data to design the desired customer journey, understanding the impact on the business of the new technology solutions and significant investment in the design phase of the project to ensure that the multiple integrations that are needed are optimized. Those that have done this well have a mature approach to technology management and optimisation within the organisation. They are also ‘joined up’ across the business and there is a clear vision of what the consumer needs and what that means for the capabilities within the retailer.

Finally, we’ve also found that this new architecture also requires a new way of working to maintain and continually upgrade the experience. A devops squad approach ensures that the strengths of a Composable tech stack are exploited and the commerce experience continually evolves to satisfy the customer’s needs.

So for those organisations considering the opportunities composable commerce could offer ensure that the broader organisation are 1) bought into the concept of composable commerce whilst understanding the impact on them and 2) there is willingness to invest.

If you want to find out more about composable Commerce, please contact either, Kerry Lee, Matt Bradbeer or Jeremy Wilson.

*MACH Alliance statistics

Kerry Lee

CX Director
Kerry is an ecommerce leader with over 20 years of marketing and commerce experience across a range of geographies and industry sectors. She is skilled at devising strategies for clients that accelerate their commerce activity and is a trusted adviser to directors and board level partners. She specialises in leading teams that develop solutions and frameworks that help clients profitably scale commerce activity. In particular, she has extensive experience in developing actionable commerce strategies, omnichannel customer experience programmes and devising commerce focused operating models that enable brands to meet / exceed their objectives.

Matt Bradbeer

Commerce Lead
Matt is Head of UK Commerce DCX at CapGemini, in 2019 he co-founded the MACH Alliance which launched in 2020 and is now the leading industry body for MACH and Composable. Matt has over 25 years experience in digital commerce and retail. He started out in the Dotcom Boom with and has worked in the online or digital businesses for several large retailers including John Lewis and Argos. After running the online operations for Waterstones and Barclays Bank UK amongst others Matt created a number of startups before moving to roles in agencies such as Publicis.Sapient and EPAM.

Jeremy Wilson

Digital Strategy Director
Jeremy is an eCommerce leader with over 24 years of digital and commerce experience. He is skilled at creating and developing strategies for clients that accelerate their commerce activity and is a trusted adviser to directors and “C” suite partners. He has extensive experience in developing growth strategies and advising on the technology required to deliver a customer focused proposition. He has extensive experience of managing and delivering client projects and an ability to transfer learnings across industries and channels.